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By the time Charles Collett took over as Chief Mechanical Officer of the Great Western Railway at Swindon in 1921, holiday traffic from London to Devon and Cornwall was demanding heavier trains and the GWR management were devoting proportionally more money and resources to West of England services, from Paddington, than to any other routes. Collett's solution was to take the basic 4-6-0 layout of the existing Star Class, keeping the same frame layout and wheel spacing and adding a newly designed No.8 boiler which was both larger and lighter.The result was the GWR Class 4073, or Castle Class, with which Collett could both supplement the Stars and replace them on the heaviest expresses.
As the Castles became available, they were entrusted with many of the GWRs high profile express services, including the Bristolian and the Cheltenham Flyer and they regularly registered high speed runs, 100mph being attained on several occasions. The Castle class remained the most useful Great Western express passenger engines, operating right across the region. From August 1923 to August 1950, 155 Castle Class locomotives were built new at Swindon Works, in ten lots for the GWR and two lots for British Railways Western Region and a further sixteen were converted from other classes.
In 1932 there were improvements to the boiler and firebox area and further changes followed in 1946, when a higher degree of superheat was added to the Castle boiler. From 1956 the fitting of double chimneys to selected engines, combined with larger superheaters, further enhanced their capacity for sustained high-speed performance, but by December 1965, the last of the class were withdrawn from traffic.5013 Abergavenny Castle was built at Swindon in June 1932, entering traffic at Newton Abbot on June 27th. During the course of its lifespan, the locomotive served throughout the GWR region, from Penzance to Carmarthen, before finally being withdrawn from Llanelly in July 1962.
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